21 months after Dorian, officials re-evaluating dome recipient list

With 100 temporary domes still awaiting erection on Abaco and Grand Bahama 21 months after Hurricane Dorian, Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Project Manager Wendell Grant said the government is re-evaluating its recipient list to ensure that only those who need structures receive them.

“Right now, we have erected a number of domes from the time that we stopped (at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic) until now,” Grant told The Nassau Guardian.

“Our process right now is the re-evaluation of some of the recipients of the domes. A number of persons who were originally on the list to be able to receive domes were successful in being able to bring their homes back.

“So, we have to re-evaluate basically how we are going to approach this because we don’t want to provide somebody with a dome who does not need one. So, there is a re-evaluation of the project currently.”

He said no names have been removed from the list.

“That’s all a part of the process of re-evaluation,” Grant said.

Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, leveled portions of Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2019.

Following the storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the establishment of temporary housing, which are dome-like structures, that was expected to cost about $6.4 million.

He said the government planned to set up 250 domes on Abaco in a “tent city”.

On Saturday, Grant said the authority has experienced an array of challenges with erecting the structures.

“If you remember, we had significant funding challenges when COVID began and that would have been in February or March (2020) and the government had been significantly challenged to be able to keep us funded at the level to be able to keep all of our projects up on top and going,” he said.

“So, we had to prioritize projects as we went through. Significant problems were also encountered with material shortages. You’d be aware that globally there are increasing problems with getting lumber, getting steel and in getting a number of key components for construction.

“Also, too, we would have had challenges with the labor force in Abaco and also the supply of certain things like concrete. So, we suffered a number of challenges. We’ve had contractors available, but we’ve had challenges in getting these domes built along the way. So, it’s really multifaceted issues that kept us back.”

Grant was unable to provide a timeline for the completion of the project.

On Thursday, East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest said he remains disappointed that the authority has not provided temporary dome homes to residents in need of accommodation.

“I have lamented the fact that the government’s restoration efforts in East Grand Bahama have not kept pace with these developments,” he said.

“I remain disappointed that the DRA has not followed through on its commitment to provide temporary dome homes to residents in the affected area in need of accommodation. I understand the challenge, but when one considers the costs allocated to continued debris management, to administration of the program, etc., the cost to erect and provide shelter to 40 resident families with some accommodation is insignificant.

“We can do this. I do not accept the present situation and regret that I am forced to mention it again.”

Grant told The Guardian that he believes Turnquest is “right”.

“We have had our challenges,” he said.

“East Grand Bahama, in particular, is one of them. You know, I don’t think that our record is at all what it could be in regards to the delivery of the domes in East Grand Bahama. His assessment is probably a fair one and our challenges were particularly in Grand Bahama and we have to continually face and mount new approaches to be able to try to find some success in Grand Bahama.”

Grant said once the authority is able to find “a recipe that really works well for domes in Abaco, we’ll be able to export it to Grand Bahama”.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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